Burmese Cinnabar Lacquer Betel Box with Two Interior Trays

Regular price $65.00

I never tire of gorgeous cinnabar colored Burmese lacquer betel boxes like this one, and am excited every time I find one. I believe this lacquered bamboo box dates to the earlyish 20th century, and features a style of interlocking forms that I believe is called ku-nan-kan-byat. This interlocking design is rendered in black on the top and sides of the box's lid against an allover field of incised pin-prick like marks. It is framed by incised banding around the perimeter of the lid as well as near the top and bottom of the sides. The bottom half of the box features similar patterning on its sides, and contains two interior trays with incised banded designs on sides and bottoms.

Cylindrical boxes such as this, called kun-it, were used to store ingredients needed for betel chewing, a mild stimulant. Once a common practice in southeast Asia, betel chewing was central to social interaction, and the betel box was an important object, offered to guests in a gesture of hospitality for them to select their preferred ingredients. 

This box is in excellent condition, with a few minor scratches to the exterior and very light wear to the lacquer around the edges, and no loss of lacquer on the interior It measures  It measures 3 7/8" tall x 4 3/8" wide overall; interior trays measures 1 1/8" tall and 1 1/2" tall.